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When it comes to creating anything of value, whether it’s products or content, there are usually two trains of thought: produce as much as you can and ship it quickly, or produce in smaller quantities with higher quality.

The “ship much, ship quick” mindset is about expanding fast, reaching as many people as possible with as many things as possible. It promotes having a minimum viable product and getting something out the door as fast as possible.

The “ship fewer, ship better” mindset emphasizes quality and care, putting more time into perfecting what you do put out there, but may limit how many people you can actually reach.

This also applies in a larger way to audience reach. You may be able to “reach” large amounts of people, but the trade-off might be the quality of what you can produce.

On today’s show we’ll be talking about finding balance between quality and quantity and how to tell if you’re diluting your brand by reaching too far.

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
  • The larger you get, the more careful you have to be not to dilute your brand.
  • Whether you focus on quantity or quality depends on your brand’s values.
  • Think about how your brand is going to be perceived based on whether you prioritize quantity or quality.
  • There’s nothing that damages brand perception more than a crappy product.
  • When you focus on quality, you’re thinking about what is in your audience’s best interest.
  • The quality of what you produce should always reflect your values.
  • Don’t pander to popular demand if you care about the person receiving your product.
  • Beware lowering your standards as your brand grows.
  • Don’t dilute your brand by trying to expand without the ability or margin to do so.
  • Let your brand evolve with the market, with what your target audience needs and wants.
Show Notes
  • 04:17 Cory: Kyle and I have talked a lot about the balance one has to strike between producing something of quality vs. producing something in quantity. Sometimes, you can have them both together. You can produce a lot of really, really great things. It seems that, in a lot of cases, if you want to have one, you have to compromise a little bit of the other. If you want to have something of really good quality, you spend more time and money on it, which might lead to less quantity.
  • 05:13 It can be this battle. Do I focus on quality or do I focus on quantity, and how do those things work together as I try and reach my target audience? That’s what we’re talking about today.
  • 05:25 Kyle: The way we’ve been discussing brands in this show and the direction we’ve gone, it’s also good to mention at the beginning here that most of our shows are geared towards brands that have a higher standard, that are quality-based, that can deliver something that’s very helpful for the people they serve and not just what they can get out the door the fastest. That’s an important distinction here, because there are certain brands that can put quantity over quality, or that put a lot of things out there in the world and are still considered a “successful brand.”

Quality vs. Quantity Brands

  • 06:14 Kyle: It depends on the type of success you want, or at least that’s where my mind goes. Sure, Walmart, for example, is a really big retailer, and it has huge stock prices and massive income. People aren’t necessarily huge fans of Walmart.
  • 06:38 Cory: It depends on who you are and what you’re looking for.
  • 06:42 Kyle: Overall, their perception is not, “I’m going to go to this place for the best of the best.” It’s, “I’m going to go there to find this really cheap thing, and I want to get out of there as soon as possible.”
  • 06:55 Cory: It depends on what kind of brand you’re trying to create and how you want to be perceived, ultimately. I don’t think Walmart really cares about being perceived as a quality brand.
  • 07:07 Kyle: No, not at all. In a way, it’s kind of sad. I heard some background story about Sam Walton, the original founder of Walmart. He actually was very focused on people. He wanted to create this brand that was for the “everyday person,” and he wanted to appeal to the “everyday person” and make them feel like they could get products at a price that made sense for them. He wanted them to feel at home in his stores.
  • 07:45 His whole thing was about hospitality and having this kind, friendly store where blue collar workers could go, get decent prices, and be treated respectfully. That whole legacy died with him, and since then, Walmart has definitely changed the way they do things. They’re much more focused on profit than they are the people. It’s very apparent that they put quantity over quality in every aspect.
  • 08:22 Cory: We won’t even get into the ethics of how Walmart runs their business, because I don’t think that’s necessarily relevant to this particular episode.
  • 08:35 Cory: As you talk about this, another brand comes to mind. McDonalds also started off with the idea of good quality at a fast pace. When McDonalds first got started in the 1950s, I think, it was a very small but successful business. I think was run by a pair of brothers, and they just wanted to focus on a few things.
  • 09:09 They just wanted to focus on getting burgers and fries to people and them having a good experience. Now, I don’t equate McDonalds to a good burger. I don’t even equate McDonalds to a cheap burger. It’s expensive to go to McDonalds sometimes, depending on what part of the world you’re in. If you look at how McDonalds has grown, you can see how their values have shifted.
  • As you grow and start producing more, the larger you get, the easier it is to dilute your brand.

  • 10:01 You’re trusting all these different people to portray your brand in a certain way. There’s a difference there, and it depends on what you want. Do you want to have a quality burger, or do you want to have something quickly? Do you want something that you know will taste the exact same wherever you go? Is it more important to you, as a business, to have money? Is it more important to you, as a consumer, to be able to go in, order a Big Mac, and walk out knowing exactly what you’re going to get?

What Is Important to Your Brand?

  • 10:33 In the same way, you walk into Starbucks, and it tastes the same everywhere in the world because it’s terrible, burnt coffee. You know exactly what you’re going to get. The question you have to ask yourself is, “What is more important to my brand?” Really study this, because quantity may not be exactly what you’re going for. How that affects your brand and plays itself out is not necessarily the same way every single time.
  • 11:09 You have to ask yourself these questions. Are you trying to reach more people than you should? Are you trying to reach the right audience? Are you trying to reach people outside of your target audience? Do you know who your target audience is? Is it more important to bring in income than it is to deliver something that is quality, something that’s memorable? What is it for you, your brand, your business, or your non-profit? What is more important to the people you’re trying to reach?
  • Is it more important to have quality or is it more important to have quantity and to reach more people?

  • 11:43 Kyle: I think the main reason we’re doing this topic is for people who are starting their brand and getting it going. There’s a choice you need to make in the beginning. The beginning can be years worth of time, but when you’re in the early years of your brand, what do you want to deliver to people? Do you want to give them quality? By quality, we are talking about focusing on a well-crafted experience for the people you serve, whether that’s a service or product. It’s focusing more on how things are put together and how nice they are rather than focusing on how many of something you can make, put out there, and sell.
  • 12:35 That’s a tough thing to think about in the beginning. It could even be your marketing. I know that, the other day, I had a conversation in the chat about what you should start marketing with. What should you start publishing and putting out there? It’s easy to see people with these big marketing plans that are publishing things on a daily or a weekly basis. They’re content marketing, running courses, selling things, and you think you have to do all of these things at once in order to get to that point.

What Are Your Brand’s Values?

  • 13:18 Kyle: What’s not seen, because brands that are doing this aren’t necessarily in the spotlight yet, is that really successful brands don’t try to do all of those things at once. They try to find something that they can focus on at the beginning, something they can put effort into. Over time, they grow. It’s like muscles, like a workout. Over time, you get to a point where you can start creating things of good quality and consistently publish, but that may not happen right upfront.
  • 14:00 Cory: I think an important aspect of what you’ve talked about is something a lot of people are wondering about. When we brought up this conversation of quality and quantity and whether you’re producing for mass appeal, a lot of people were asking, “Is this just about products? Is this just about something that people pay for, or is it also about the free stuff that you share? Is it about blog posts, videos, and other content you’re producing online?” We’re talking about all of that stuff together.
  • 14:40 It’s the question of whether you’re trying to produce as much as you can, regardless of quality, and sling it out there to as many people as possible—or are you going to produce in smaller quantities with higher quality, and not get in front of as many people? It applies the same across the board, like Kyle is talking about. It applies to creating content. Are you feeling like you have to produce all of this stuff in a certain way, but then you realize you’re not actually producing anything? You want to produce quality, but you also want quantity…
  • Whether you focus on quantity or quality depends on knowing your brand values.

    What are you not going to compromise on?

  • <a href="#t=15:39 You need to figure out what your values are (Related: e002 Values, Mission, and Purpose”>15:39 You need to figure out what your values are (Related: e002 Values, Mission, and Purpose). Do you value having a lot of things, even if they all apply to your target audience? Do you value them being able to get as much as possible in varied forms? Or, is it a value to you that they have the highest quality of everything that you produce, so you spend a little bit more time on every single thing, whether that’s content, products, an app, or a service?

Brand Perception

  • 16:12 Cory: What’s more important? You also have to think about who you’re going to attract based on the quality you produce. That’s just the truth. Walmart attracts a certain kind of customer. I’m not going to say what that customer is, because it doesn’t matter, but the truth is that Walmart attracts a certain kind of customer. Forever 21 attracts a certain kind of customer. H&M attracts a certain kind of customer. Ask yourself, “Who am I trying to attract? Who do I want to buy my products? Who do I want to consume my content? What kind of clients do I want to hire me?”
  • 16:58 Based on those things and on your values, what you’re going to do or not do, that can help direct you in the kind of quality and the amount that you’re going to be producing.
  • 17:11 Kyle: It’s really important, as well, to understand that your values on this are what help you separate yourself. Standing firm on certain values is tough sometimes. If your values aren’t hard to hold onto at certain points, you probably don’t have strong enough values. Let’s say that you decide, “I’m going to produce things that are of the highest quality possible.”
  • 17:44 You start working and doing things, and your business starts growing. Your brand is getting bigger and bigger. Suddenly, you realize that there’s another company in the same industry that’s producing the same type of thing. Let’s say you’re a shirt company, and there are plenty of other brands producing shirts, but yours are super high quality. You’re making ten a month, you’re hand-crafting shirts. There’s going to come a point where you’re going to feel like, “I could mass produce these things and sell them for so much more, because I see this person over here doing that same thing.”
  • Where you decide to land when it comes to quality vs. quantity is very important for your brand, because this is one of the cornerstones of brand perception.

  • 18:44 If you’re a brand that produces things and puts them out there as fast as you possibly can, but they’re sub-par and cheaply priced, or they’re okay and people buy them because it’s something they’re interested in, that’s going to carry with you throughout your brand. It’s very hard to turn a brand around. It takes a lot of time and money to change your brand perception. Some people think, “I could start producing sub-par work over and over, and that’s fine. At some point, I could start focusing on quality, because I’ll have enough employees that we can narrow down and focus.”
  • 19:31 That’s not going to happen. If that’s not what you’re based on from the beginning, it might be able to happen from a logistics standpoint, but from a perception standpoint, you’ve already established something very specific to your brand.
  • 20:00 Cory: That’s ultimately the point. On this show, we’re not necessarily saying, “Go for quality,” or, “Go for quantity,” or something like that.
  • Think about how your brand is going to be perceived based on the actions that you take.

  • 20:19 If you are producing high quality stuff and you’re able to produce a large quantity of that, that’s really great. You have to think about how your brand is going to be perceived and how people are going to feel about you because of what you’re giving to other people. If you produce low, good-enough quality stuff, you have to count the cost of how you’re going to be perceived, how people will feel about you, and what they’re going to think about you.

Choose Quality

  • 20:52 Cory: In my opinion, when it comes to products, you must produce quality. That’s just my opinion. I don’t think people should cut corners. In fact, don’t cut corners. Don’t try and expand faster than you can. Don’t try and get the cheaper version. Get quality.
  • There’s nothing that damages brand perception more than a crappy product.

  • 21:12 That’s just the truth. I don’t care if it’s crass. Is that crass to people?
  • 21:17 Kyle: Honestly, I would have been much more firm on that, Cory. From my perception, I think about quality, the time and effort you put into something, as the amount of investment you’re willing to put into the people that receive it. If you’re focused on quantity only, you just want to make a bunch of things and sell a bunch of things, you’re essentially saying, “I want to produce a bunch of things so people can take them and go, and I don’t care about them being here. I care about getting their money and having them leave.”
  • 21:50 As harsh as that may sound, that’s really the reality of it. If you’re focused on creating this quality thing, you’re not creating it for yourself. You’re creating it for the person on the other end. It’s a much more audience-focused mindset. When you focus on quality, you’re thinking about what is in your audience’s best interest. A great example of this is Apple. Apple has gotten to the scale where they can, like Cory mentioned, produce high quality products on a massive scale.
  • 22:29 Are there occasionally some flaws? Yes, but it’s rare. They’re few and far between. Of course, sometimes there are issues with the product once they’re in the mass market’s hands, but I’m talking about factory defects or something. I don’t think I’ve ever received an Apple product with factory defects. I remember years ago when Macs didn’t have Bluetooth. A bunch of Windows computers had Bluetooth, and everyone was like, “Bluetooth is the future. Apple doesn’t have it.” They’re not including certain things until they feel like those things are at the right level of quality.
  • 23:13 They’re not going to just throw them in there so that people think, “Apple knows what they’re doing, so I’m going to buy their product.” Then it’s a subpar product. They care about the people that use their product. They restrict things from the people that use their product, because they know it’s in their best interest. That’s highly respectable. Sure, it’s like taking something away from a child. They’re upset because the other kids have it, but maybe it’s damaging for them.
  • 23:46 They’re saying, “We understand this. We’ve tested this. We know what happens if we include these things or change these things, so we’re not going to do it. I’m sorry.” They’re a hugely successful brand for that. Some people think that not appealing to what everyone wants will damage their reputation so that they’ll never be a big brand.
  • You’ll be appreciated for not pandering to popular demand, because it shows that you care about the people you serve.

  • 24:27 Cory: Interestingly, as you bring up Apple’s focus on quality, I think it’s worth talking about the fact that Apple doesn’t hold a significant share of the worldwide smartphone market. They’re actually very small, comparatively, worldwide. In the second quarter of 2016, Samsung is leading the worldwide smartphone global market share at 22.4%. Apple is at about 11.8%. Then you have Huawei at 9.4% and a bunch of other smaller ones, which contribute to 45.1% of the global smartphone market. I’m just talking about smartphones here.
  • 25:17 There are all these other products. If you have a company like Samsung, who’s producing a lot of smartphones every year, there are a lot of issues that can come with that. Recently, Samsung recalled all of a certain kind of phone, I think it was the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, because the battery was exploding. People were getting burned and injured because of this device. It was a high quality device, except for this one flaw. They had to recall it. I read this morning that about half, so far, have been collected.
  • 26:15 You have to say, “Okay, they’re trying for mass coverage. They’re trying to get their phones into as many hands as possible.” I like Samsung. I’m a big Samsung fan. I think they’re highly innovative and they have fantastic technology. You can look at it and think that Apple is producing the iPhone and the iPhone Plus, one set, a year. At some point, maybe they’ll switch to every two years. You never know. Samsung is putting out more, and they are producing great quality devices, but you have to count the cost.
  • 27:08 What is the difference here? What are you going to gain or lose by producing all of this stuff or by producing something that has great quality? Of course, as we talk, everyone’s going to get up in arms about iPhone vs. Android. Then you’ll get the people who say, “I still have my Nokia phone! It can’t be destroyed!”

What Does Quality Look Like for Your Brand?

  • 27:34 Cory: Ultimately, your products, your content, and anything you create is going to be someone’s first experience with you. The question is, what are you concerned about? Are you concerned about their experience? Are you concerned about making money? Are you concerned about how your brand is going to exist in the future?
  • Think about how people are going to think about your brand, because that determines what kind of quality and quantity you have.

  • 28:08 Sometimes, like with this exploding Samsung phone thing, that could have been a great quality product, aside from that flaw. It is their fault, but things like that do happen. There is always going to be some kind of issue that can come up. There is always risk involved in creating any kind of product. Ask yourself, “Am I trying to produce something that’s really good quality and ramp up to the quantity?” Or, are you trying to produce a lot, and ramp up the quality?
  • 28:45 That’s another thing. You can start at a lower quality, the lowest part of your high standard, theoretically, and improve as you go. You could iterate and all of that. That’s a factor as well.

Can Quality Be Objective?

  • <a href="#t=29:12 Kyle: I want to bring in this question from Eugene in the Community”>29:12 Kyle: I want to bring in this question from Eugene in the Community chat, “Is there an objective way to quantify quality?” I was thinking about this topic, and I’m curious to hear your thoughts, but my initial reaction is that the quality of what you produce should always reflect your values. seanwes is a great example. Sean was very focused on not selling his listeners for revenue. There are no ads on any of the podcasts.
  • 29:54 It’s how we’re able to be ad free on this podcast. It’s this fundamental thing. As employees are added, we’re up to seven employees plus Sean, I’m sure it would be easier to say, “We’re going to monetize these podcasts with ads so we can make more money and pay people easier,” but that’s one principle of quality that seanwes has. Maybe other places put their quality distinctions in other areas.
  • When you compromise on providing quality in the areas that matter to your audience, that’s when you fail in offering quality.

  • 30:56 Every brand is different. Some brands value certain things over other brands. For example, there’s Tesla, a car manufacturer that says that all of their cars are going to run on electricity. That’s one of their core principles, one of their core brand values. That’s the thing for them. They could produce a car that runs on gasoline. They could easily do that, but they have decided that this is something they think is quality because it protects the environment, it’s electric, and it doesn’t cause as much pollution.
  • 31:40 Then, there are other car manufacturers that are working on fuel efficiency for gasoline cars. That’s something they consider a quality aspect. Tesla would not do that, because they don’t use fuels. I think both of those are quality. There could be a really high quality car that runs on gasoline and a really high quality car that runs on electricity, but those two brands have different standards for the quality they produce.
  • 32:14 Cory: This is interesting. This is going to require some thought on my end, so I don’t know if I’m going to be able to have an answer on this show. I don’t know that quality can be objective. I think Kyle is right. You have to look at your brand values and the ways you’re trying to impact the world, and quality comes from that. The ultimate determining factor for whether something is quality or not is the experience that your target audience has. What is their experience?
  • If your target audience has a positive experience with your brand’s product or service, that thing has subjective quality to that person.

  • 33:07 There are certain things, like technological things, where you can objectively say that it’s not a high quality item in how it was produced, but if the end goal is achieved positively for the right person, maybe it is quality. I don’t know what your thoughts are, Kyle. I’m thinking out loud here. It’s a really interesting question.
  • 33:37 Kyle: I think that quality is objective to the brand, specifically, to you. Let’s say that it’s just you right now. You own a brand. You don’t have any employees yet. The quality is objective to you and what your firm standards are. Your audience gathers around you because of the standards that you have. For example, Cory mentioned that some things, like technology, could be seen as high quality or low quality. The truth is, people put their eggs in different baskets.
  • 34:17 For example, Cory mentioned Samsung. Some people perceive Samsung as a very high quality brand, more so than Apple. Part of the reason they may think that is that they feel like the hardware is the most important thing. I don’t remember the stats of any of the phones, but let’s say that it has 5GB of RAM and a 256 GB hard drive. It has these things, and then they look at Apple and they say, “Apple has half the storage and half the RAM,” but Apple doesn’t put their quality standards there.
  • 34:58 They put their quality standards on how it functions and works for the user. They may have integrated some things that actually make their system run faster than the Samsung phone, even though the stats are the same. It just depends on where the person’s quality lies. I agree with you, Cory.
  • From an audience standpoint, quality is subjective and depends on the person’s preferences.

    From a brand standpoint, quality can be objective.

  • 35:29 It’s about what aligns with your brand’s standards and what doesn’t. I know that I’m never going to produce an icon pack of 1,000 icons that are only in some almost unusable format and charge $5 for 1,000 of them. There are other people out there that do that. That’s not something I’m ever going to do, because I don’t feel like that’s in people’s best interest. Maybe those other people do, maybe they think, “I’m giving them a low-barrier entry product. I’m not giving them a ton of stuff, but they at least get these in their hands.”

Taking Risks

  • 36:07 Kyle: It all depends on where your standards are. Then there’s the brand dilution portion of this, which we haven’t really even talked about much. When you say, “I’m going to produce this standard of product, content, or service to people,” at some point, you start to grow. When you start to get bigger, it’s really easy to lower your standards on certain things, because you want to reach more people. You want mass appeal. When you do that, you’re diluting your brand. You’re diminishing the perceived standards, values, and quality that people came to you for in the first place.
  • 36:57 The audience you have expects what you’ve been doing, and if you start to change that, maybe you start to change target audiences, but you also change your entire business model.
  • 37:10 Cory: Your brand can be diluted when you try to expand without the ability or the margin to do so. It also depends on how you’re expanding. People love the idea of having mass appeal, but go Google “Top 25 product flops.” Of all of the product flops that were talked about, maybe three out of the 25, the product wasn’t accepted or came out at the wrong time, so nobody liked it. More than half of those product flops are about how this company tried to expand out from what they were known as.
  • 38:05 One of the ones I read about a type of gum, the Zebra gum or some kind of gum manufacturer. They made a couple of other candies and stuff, but they tried to create a juice based on the taste of one of their candies. It bombed because they were so focused on candy and people loved that, but they tried to make this other thing that they thought would appeal to the same people as well as a larger audience that didn’t eat candy, and it was terrible.
  • 38:43 You have all these other examples where there is a well known brand that says, “Let’s try this thing!” You say, “Why did you try that? That was a terrible idea.” I’m not pointing fingers, but when Microsoft decided to get into the smartphone game, they lost millions upon millions of dollars on the risk of expanding out beyond who they were focused on to try and get mass appeal. All of a sudden, Microsoft has these phones. They purchase Nokia, and they’re trying to do all this Windows phone stuff, and then they say, “Okay guys, we’re going to shut this down. This was a bad idea.”
  • As your brand grows, you have to ask yourself whether a change or risk is going to be worth it in the long run.

  • 39:46 Then you have to actually take a risk. You may have to take a jump and say, “I’m going to try this because I think this is the right direction.” I believe that Windows believed that getting into the smartphone market was the right idea, but it cost them very severely. Again, it’s about counting the cost and saying, “If I try to reach more people outside of my target audience, do I accept that this could be terrible or really good, and there’s going to be a risk there?”
  • 40:18 Kyle: You have to question if Windows thought smartphones were a good idea. There are a couple of things to look at. For one thing, they’re a large organization with shareholders. Oftentimes, in these larger companies, the shareholders and people that have the best interest of the company in mind are very focused on numbers. They think, “We’re not in this market. We need to be in this market. Why are we not there?” There are other companies like this, but this is the one I’ve had experience watching and listening to shareholder meetings for.
  • 41:04 Apple is one company that will say, “We’re not going to go that direction. Sorry about your luck. That’s not a direction our brand goes, and it’s not in the best interest of the people we serve.” There are other brands that give into that and say, “Yeah, you’re right. We should invest in smartphones…” They make them just to check something off the list, and I don’t know which way Windows went with that, but it’s an interesting other side of the coin to think about.
  • Even on a small scale, is your brand doing things because you see other people doing them, or because it’s something your audience is asking for?

  • 42:01 There’s a big distinction there. One of them is saying, “I want to be like everybody else.” These “competitors” are doing all these things, so you think you need to do all these things as well. But what’s actually in the best interest of the people you serve?
  • 42:24 Cory: Yeah. All of the different companies that have tried to make smartphones are going through my head. Did you know that the guys at Mozilla Firefox wanted to make a smartphone?
  • 42:35 Kyle: I did! I saw that at one point.
  • 42:38 Cory: People were stoked about it. Then it fell off, and no one cared. Amazon made a phone. That was a bad idea. That was terrible. What was it? Amazon Fire something? Terrible.
  • 42:55 Kyle: I want to point out really fast that you can still be focused on your values and your mission and make a terrible product. Some of these could just be that, but I want to bring the other side to light. In some cases, you might be doing something because everyone else says that you have to.

Listen to the Market

  • 43:13 Cory: Yes. Again, at the end of the day, the market is going to tell you how your brand is going to do. Your audience will tell you. Steve Ballmer, the ex-CEO of Microsoft, in 2011 said, “We need to go all in on Windows phone.” He was sold out on it. He thought this was the direction, that this was going to be the next big thing. Either this year or late last year, now that he’s not the CEO anymore, he’s saying, “Maybe Microsoft should put Android on Windows phones.”
  • 43:57 For Steve Ballmer, he probably really felt that this was a great move for Microsoft and for their customers. Guess what? The market didn’t think so. The market said, “These are terrible.”
  • You have to evolve with the market,and with what your target audience needs and wants.

  • 44:22 You have to know your target audience better than anybody. You have to know what they’re looking for. Are they looking for quantity? Quality? Are they looking for both? How are you going to deliver the kind of product or thing that they need, that they want, that they’ll pay you for, that they’ll hire you for, that they’re going to consume? Are you going to be able to deliver it with the resources that you have?
  • 44:48 Kyle: It’s very obvious when your brand starts to move away from those standards. Let’s say that you’re a bank, and you decide that every single member of your bank should have eight bank accounts. This is the average person that’s a member of your bank. This happened recently with Wells Fargo. Again, we’re referencing recent events. The CEO, just like Cory was talking about with Steve Ballmer, was all in this. It improved their market shares and all of those things. It drove up their revenue and their stock prices.
  • 45:35 Even his own shares of stock went up. It’s such a transparent mistake. There are people that may need eight bank accounts. That exists, but not for your average person. This was at the point where employees were being forced, because of the demand on them, to open up bank accounts that didn’t actually exist, to look like their numbers were better.

Taking Quantity Over Quality Too Far

  • 46:10 Cory: For people listening, in the last few weeks, there has been news coverage on this scandal happening with Wells Fargo, the giant bank conglomerate. They forced their employees, under the table, to open up bank accounts for their customers without the customers authorizing it. It looks like about 2 million accounts were opened so that these bankers could hit sales quotas. There was all of this under the table stuff, and now it’s coming out. They’re under an investigation.
  • 46:53 There are penalties being kicked around. Kyle is referring to this thing that’s happening right now with Wells Fargo, of them getting caught with all of these accounts being opened. Over 5,000 low level employees—I say low level, because none of the executives are getting penalized yet—about 5,300 employees have been fired in connection to this whole thing. It’s just crazy. All this chaos is happening.
  • 47:37 Kyle: I just wanted to bring that up, because that is the definition of putting quantity over quality—quantity of money, quantity of stock prices, quantity of bank accounts, even. They wanted to have this big portfolio of bank accounts, and they weren’t thinking about the average actual person that was going to use their bank. Did you hear why they wanted people to have eight bank accounts?
  • 48:05 Cory: It was all about sales quotas.
  • 48:06 Kyle: Eight is great. Eight rhymes with great, that’s why they wanted people to have that many accounts. That’s what the CEO said. He literally said that. It’s true. Unless the senate lied about it.
  • 48:32 Cory: I’m so angry. It’s so bad. In that case, they had a lot of quantity, but not a lot of quality, and now they’re paying for it big time. It’s not just like they’re going to get a lot of fines. Trust is being lost here. That is what all of this comes back to.
  • What kind of brand perception will come as a result of everything you produce, your business model, and your values?

  • 49:27 Right now, Wells Fargo might have made a lot of money, millions, because of this scam that’s happening, but they’re going to lose so many people who are banking with them. Not only that, it’s going to start small, but it’s going to affect how people view banks. Maybe it won’t do enough to make a huge difference, but people aren’t going to be looking at Wells Fargo and thinking, “That’s a really great place to keep my money.”
  • 50:00 Maybe it will pass over. I don’t know. Time will tell. I know that I don’t look at Volkswagon the same way. That whole emissions scandal happened a while ago, when it turned out that they were bypassing and cheating on the emissions tests so they could get out more product. Ask yourself, “Is the end result worth what I’m doing now? Is it more important to produce a lot with low quality, or is it more important to produce something in a small amount with more quality?” Or, is it possible to have high quality and have high quantity? Those things are possible.
  • 50:51 Kyle: These are big, obvious examples. These are illegal activities. Obviously, you don’t want to go that direction, but there’s something to be said for these really big scandals that come out. You realize that that company has been generating that kind of thought process, this idea of making more without it mattering whether they skirt around the laws. They just want to get more out there, and they’ll do it by any means necessary.

Policing Your Brand

  • 51:33 Kyle: I would encourage those who own a brand to be your brand’s own law enforcement. What are the things that are law within your brand? That may sound silly, but you probably say, “I’m not going to compromise on this thing.” For example, the fuel emissions test bypassing. There are some companies that have their own standard of fuel emissions that exceed what is expected from the law. They have a higher standard than what the law is recommending or requiring you to be at, and they do that because they want to be at a certain quality level.
  • 52:13 They’ll police themselves. I don’t know fuel emissions standards, so apologies here, but on a one to ten scale, they will say, “We have to be at at least a two, but our standard is that we have to be over five. If anything we produce isn’t over five, we’re not putting it out into the market, regardless of how long we have to work on it.”
  • 52:44 Cory: I like that idea of being your own law enforcement, of policing yourself and saying, “In the economy, the government, and the citizenship of my own brand, would I go to jail for this?” I don’t know. I like that idea. I would have to think about it a little bit more. Remember that you have to respond to how your audience receives it, and you may need to make adjustments.